A few years ago before I was a Christian, I walked into a church with my friend. It wasn’t big, there weren’t big lights, just about 30 people in a cold old church on a Sunday night in Autumn. This was one of my first ever experiences of “church” and “christians". I don’t remember a whole lot about it except the powerful force behind the worship - it brought me to absolute tears and I had no idea why.
Anyone else had one of those experiences? It sounds really sweet, right?
NO!!! I WAS UGLY CRYING…. IN PUBLIC!
So much so that this random girl next to me (who is still my friend till this day) handed me a tissue very discreetly as if to say “yeah… this happens here.”
I, later on, realised why this happens and it’s because worship is such a powerful expression of complete vulnerability. It beautifully mixes strength and weakness, helpless yet hopeful in one moment. There really isn’t another expression as powerful as praise and worship. It is a double-edged sword that can pierce through any trial and every situation because it is a physical, vocal and spiritual action to choose to shift your focus off your circumstance and onto God.
Praise and worship reminds us who we are in God, which in turn should give us a deep sense of joy for now and hope for eternity. It is an intimate experience between God and His creation for the purpose of developing a deeper relationship. David says in Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is interesting because he doesn’t say “I praise you because my life is perfect” or “I praise you because you’ve just answered that prayer!”
NOPE! In fact, it’s the opposite! If you read through the Psalms you’ll see that David wrote the majority of them and you may notice a trend of him going through immense heartache or pain. YET, he says he chose to praise God because he had a deep revelation of who he is in Him!
We are made for Praise! and once you have a revelation of that you’ll learn to raise God up in worship regardless of your current situation or circumstance.
This is why I can even admit that I found it difficult to access and experience the presence of God in the early years of my faith. I hadn’t yet had the revelation that praise and worship is less of a state of mind and more of a posture towards God. I used to think (naively and hilariously) that I could only worship God in brokenness and only praise him when I was joyful and thankful. But that’s simply not the case, and not how it was intended. We need to choose to praise and worship God regardless of what we’re going through because it reminds us of WHO WE ARE and WHO HE IS! Remember, “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are His - enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:2-4.
The book of Psalms eventually finishes after a beautiful 150 chapters with a clear reminder of the theme echoed throughout it of “Praise the LORD.” The last verse sums it all up by saying “let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” This makes it abundantly clear who should be praising God - anyone, anything, over everything!
“So if you don’t feel like you have a breath left in you, what I would suggest is just breath in and let out your worries, breath in and let out your fears, breath in and let out, breath in and let out and soon your exhale will be full of praise and thankfulness and you’ll be in an act of worship.